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Community Building Tips: Are you Commoogling?

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What is commoogling? A concept honed by Martin Shervington on Google+ and explained on Urban Dictionary as “Commingle – to mix together, to blend, to make into one ‘body'+ online activity i.e. Commingling Online = Commoogle.” It is community building or tribe building in your online life specifically on Google+.

When I first started on Twitter, I was lucky enough to find an online hashtag community called #UsGuys. No, it wasn't all guys from the US, it was a thriving group of like-minded people who shared information, coffee and life through the #UsGuys hashtag on a daily basis. It was an amazing resource to throw a question out and get a few responses quickly from reliable sources. We were all richer from the connections and friendships built here. I feel blessed by all the people that I have met and learned from online.

Guy Kawasaki said “Create something worth building a community around.”

Having a community to commoogle with is what makes social media work. Period. 

Why is Google+ perfect for community building? This fantastic post from Martin “The psychology of engagement on Google+” talks about the role of team or community on Google+:

“As well as finding your niche and being persistent, as +Jaana Nyström told me early on, very often people are collaborating on Google+ in formal or informal teams.  It is worth considering at this point that an organisation is, in effect, a team. Most often, people align themselves more or less to the values and directions of the strategic plan and play a role in getting there. The same will be when people become ‘organised’ in less formal ways.

This shift from an individual acting alone to an informal arrangement of people working together is one of the powerful aspects on Google+; and it manifests in mutual sharing and trending topics i.e. where people come together and use the same hashtag as a way of communicating/binding within a theme. This can then take on a life of its own as it goes beyond the network initiators of a hashtag. These teams as +stephanie wanamaker, The Hashtag Queen, and +Robert Partridge attest to have tremendous resource to spread messages across Google+ with their own memes!

But anyone working together in any way is in effect a team, even if the don’t codify it in this way. An idea virus cannot be spread by one person alone.”

If you don't have a community online, find one or create one. For me, I have found deeper conversations and great connections on Google+ that are a challenge on Twitter (which has been my favorite platform for a long time) given the 140 limitations. While I love the challenge of creating a great tweet, sometimes a little extra wiggle room is good. Facebook is turning into a repetitive cycle of the same material being shared and popping up again a week later and then another week later. G+ seems to have a more fresh current of what's hot and interesting. The daily trending hashtags are a fantastic way to hop in easily, check out my piece on trendspotting for more details. From my friend Dane Findley (whom I met on Twitter in #UsGuys and is a 100% Google+ man now)  a handy chart of Google+ tools:

Google+ has its own language and culture but I feel if you dig in, it is worth the effort to find your community and engage. You can find people who like the things that you like with circles or hashtags and start engaging with them. Sure, I have met a few jerks on Google+ or those that think they own the place but 99.99% of the people are passionate, engaging friends waiting to comment back on your comment and reciprocate with a +1 and a share.

I love this term that I found on Martin's post, shareshag! Which describes when someone runs through all your posts and shares them. Yes, please! Have you shareshagged someone today?

Elaine Lindsay says this about Google+, “In our communities, it is the structure, the culture and conventions in deep and well developed prose, that really capture the essence of why I love it here.”

In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” I am passionate about social media and community building, I feel that these two things combined are one of the keys to success in social media. What are you waiting for?

Resources:

Generation+ and teams by Martin Shervington

The Art of Creating a Community by Guy Kawasaki

Featured image courtesy of danielmviero.com via Creative Commons.

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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12 Comments

  1. Thanks for the inclusion  and I am so happy others are picking up the #commoogling culture..  I am so collaborative.

  2. Love the stuff that @PegFitzpatrick  cranks out!  Learned much from her and with #commoogling it goes on. Many thanks, Peggy and the crew of @12Most @12MostBusiness #padawan #gratitude

    1. @hollyjosey  @12Most  @12MostBusiness 
      Thanks so much, Holly! We, at 12 Most, really appreciate your support and it is so thoughtful of you to tell us. It’s nice to know that you are reaching people and great to know that your work is hitting it.
      Any topics that you would like to see on 12 Most? Love to have your suggestions. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the shout out and I LOVE the quote by Henry Ford at the end, partner! It is true: as great as it is, meeting people and coming together online is only the beginning. Successful collaboration is a whole different ball game, and when it is done online I have found it takes exceptional fortitude and dedication to see things through.

    1. @PaulBiedermann Just making you all famous and stuff by the mentions on my blog. The autograph line starts on the right.
       
      Seriously, YES it is all hard work but it can pay off. Henry Ford was a smart man and said lots of smart things like “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” There is much more to success than just showing up, collaboration is great but it does take a lot of hard work, communication and you need to be able to rely on others to do what they say as well as be reliable yourself. Is it possible, yes, but it takes all of the above elements.

  4. Nice post, collaborating with people you would not otherwise get a chance to interact with on a daily basis is probably the best thing about the different social sites. I have to admit I have really not spent very much with Google + though, I need to streamline the process I use on the other sites to free up some more time.

  5. While I’m not very good at the Google+ing, I find that it’s a very different way of engaging with people. I have a very limited personal Facebook “friend” group and have different standards for allowing people into to that realm than I do with Google+. With Google+ I find that I’m more about the sharing of ideas and great info and engaging than about talking about my kid and my life and “stuff like that”. For me Google+ is more of my business person and while I share personal things (as I do on Twitter too), I find that I’m more open to circling people than friending them. Finding an online community, or two or three, is critical to making our time online personally valuable. You’re right, @PegFitzpatrick that working together, in collaboration, is how great ideas and concepts are shared. And more than just shared, they’re built upon and honed until something like 12 Most is born.One thing you mentioned, very briefly, is about not being active in a group after awhile. I think this is so important. It’s not that someone goes in and sucks everything out of the group, but, instead, grows and the group doesn’t grow with that person or the group is growing in a different direction. These online communities exist because people are willing to give and share. There may come a time, though, that we outgrow the group or the group changes. There should be no shame in moving on and wishing everyone well.
     
    The opportunities to connect with people online are tremendous, but we can’t be everything to everyone. And every group doesn’t work for every person. If something doesn’t seem to exist, then create it!

    1. @saving4someday I wish that I had maintained a truer “friend only” Facebook group but mine expanded past that with social media friends. It was difficult not to friend some when others could see who your has friended, a complicated web indeed. 
       
      Google+ is very different for me and I am meeting many new people there but also engaging with “old” friends as well. Were you a Girl Scout? It’s like the song “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.” I value my new and old friends. 
       
      I agree with your growth theory in groups, they do evolve, grow and change. Some people move on to start new things, some become busy with life and work. And yes “There should be no shame in moving on and wishing everyone well.” As with real life friendships, the relationship needs to be working for all parties involved and sometimes it is better for a person and the community if they move on.
       
      Strong communities and leaders give wings to new ideas, people and flourish in the group spirit. Thanks for your thoughts, Sara!

  6. Hi Peg. Great article. I love social media too and am active on LinkedIn (since 2004), Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest (to a lessor extent). I think that Google+ offers the most promise from a community building standpoint. The circles feature that makes it easy to segment your connections by Interest or affiliation much like we do informally in real life.
     
    Though Google+ has 400 million users (roughly 40% of Facebook), most users are not active (3.5 mins/month vs. Facebook average of 7.5 hrs/month). Google+ hangouts are cool too though I have only participated in a handful and have yet to initiate one myself, but see the absolutely HUGE potential. Google+ is having profound impacts on Internet marketing and search in particular. Google search (Search Plus Your World update) and authorship as a Google search signal for content ranking can provide a huge boost in community building through increase influence and reach.
     
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. @ebizroi Great comments!
       
      Must admit, I am not a hangout hipster and that does seem to be the way that many are connecting. I have yet to come up with a defined circle strategy but follow a loose sorting mix at the moment. What are your best tips for circles? How are you using them besides just controlling your stream?
       
      I appreciate your comments ~ thanks!

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